Hundreds of children up to age 10, who otherwise might not receive Christmas gifts, enjoyed some holiday cheer thanks to Meridian Community Care’s annual Breakfast with Santa event.
Student volunteers from several area schools who are members of the Meridian-sponsored PANDA Leaders Club collected toys to distribute to the youngsters. They also helped serve breakfast and coordinate photos with Santa at the event, which took place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Downtown YMCA.
The children who were invited to Breakfast with Santa are clients of the many area nonprofit social service agencies Meridian works with. PANDA Leaders Club members are students at area middle schools and high schools — part of a program that encourages young people to make positive choices in their lives while developing plans to deal with issues facing young people today.
PANDA Leaders Club members from Poland Middle School, Lowellville middle and high schools, Liberty High School, Liberty Middle School, Boardman Center Middle School, Boardman Glenwood Middle School, Boardman High School and Mineral Ridge Middle School participated in this year’s Breakfast with Santa.
They collected more than 1,000 presents through giving trees at their schools. Any presents that remained after this year’s event will be distributed to children in various Meridian Community Care programs.
Meridian Community Care, established in 1972, is an innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to ‘Saving Lives and Serving Communities.’ Meridian provides an array of services, including medical and non-medical addiction treatment, mental health counseling, workforce wellness and testing, prevention education and supportive housing.
Formerly known as Meridian Services, Meridian Community Care has been sponsoring the Breakfast With Santa event for more than 20 years.